NGO focus: Work of ASODECOM, Burundi
ASODECOM is a civil society organisation in Burundi that engages in human rights and development issues through programs, advice and advocacy.
A significant part of our work done here at Contra Nocendi International is done in collaboration with partners on the ground. One such organisation is ASODECOM (Action Solidaire pour le Développement Communautaire) from Ngozi, Burundi. ASODECOM is a civil society organisation in Burundi that engages in human rights and development issues through programs, advice and advocacy. The multifaceted approach taken by ASODECOM is meant to meet the needs of the communities in which they work and has clearly developed a level of expertise that we at Contra Nocendi International hold in high regard. Additionally, ASODECOM has special consultative status with UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and has developed a strong reputation for engaging in its work in an objective and apolitical manner.
ASODECOM is recognised as being a leading organisation in addressing innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship as a sustainable approach to education. Indeed, they have been awarded he Pan African Award for Entrepreneurship in Education for 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the international NGO Teach a Man to Fish and short listed for the Pan African Award for Entrepreneurship in Education for 2016 out of over 400 organisations being considered.
We hope this article gives you a small glimpse into what ASODECOM does and makes it quite clear why we have so much respect for their work and their staff. Indeed, we believe that ASODECOM is a vital contributor to the success of our treatment in detention consortium that we are involved with along with a number of other Burundian civil society organisations.
ASODECOM and human rights programming
Beyond ASODECOM’s work with Contra Nocendi on human right issues, ASODECOM conducts additional work on human rights concerns. Through their the B.O.J. project (Bureau d’Observation sur les droits de Homme, écoute et orientation Juridique – Observatory for Human Rights, support and legal advice), ASODECOM staff have conducted 480 visits in centers of detention in theprovinces of Ngozi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Muyinga, Gitega and Ruyigi to verify the conditions of living of people and their treatment in detention and checking irregularities within justice procedure during treatment of files of people in detention. These visits are conducted as part of regular monitoring of human rights abuses (torture, extrajudicial murder, arbitrary arrests, violence…) in detention centers.
ASODECOM also conducted workshops on human rights promotion to help expand awareness of human rights protections afforded to citizens under international law and Burundian domestic law. They also actively participate in discussions in the media relating to human rights challenges and promotion as well as participate in local human rights platforms in order to advocate for the respect of human rights protections.
A large part of ASODECOM’s programming is not focused directly on human rights promotion and observation, but rather on deploying effective development programs to provide support and opportunity for their communities.
One of ASODECOM’s development projects is called the MAHADE project. The project involves the planting of test fields using modern cultivation techniques. ASODECOM has opted for an approach which aims to popularize a form of agriculture that meets people’s needs by giving assistance, better seeds, farming implements and the use of environmentally-friendly fertilizers. Demonstration fields made up of several market gardens were planted on two Maruri and Buhoro sites in the village of Gashikanwa.
2 016 people have benefit from ASODECOM’s training to Cooperatives enterprises management and 76 cooperatives of farmers have been introduced in communes of GASHIKANWA, NGOZI, MWUMBA. Of the 2 016 beneficiaries, 71 % are women. Additionally 5 school farms have been introduced in communes Ngozi and Gashikanwa, while 101 families were trained to modern techniques of farming through out the demonstration field on sites of BUHORO, MARURI and GITASI.
VILLAGE BANK PROJECT
According to the results of the survey conducted by ASODECOM in 2010 on farmers’ access to credit for development projects in the rural environment, the conditions for access to credit by banks and other micro-finance establishments are too demanding, putting it beyond the reach of farmers. These results encouraged ASODECOM to support the set-up and management of a saving cooperative. As part of the follow up, ASODECOM works to encourage the creation of a savings co-operative at the heart of rural communities, and the participation of farmers in the management of these financial establishments. ASODECOM has also organized discussion groups on the creation of a credit and savings co-operative.
PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY THROUGH EDUCATION
When looking at how to support the empowerment of women in their communities, ASODECOM looks at the issue through the lens of “to educate a girl is to educate an entire nation”. The education and training of Burundi girls and young women is an important basis and a vital issue for the sustainable development of our country. In the context of the partnership between the Montalcini Foundation and ASODECOM, with the help of Pr Giuseppe Provenzano, a student bursary has been offered to three young Burundi women from academic year 2011-2012 at Palermo-Italia University.
PROMOTING WATER SOURCE PROTECTION
ASODECOM programming has also included work to raise awareness for the need to protect water sources within the communities they support. This programming has provide education services to 2 161 people including 1 090 young Burundians. Additionally, 7 water management teams was introduced and trained to water monitoring and got test kits to help them working on water monitoring. The success of this program will provide a solid basis for promoting water source protection in local communities.
As part of its role as a community ambassador for the international NGO Teach a man to Fish, ASODECOM provided trainings and capacity building support to provide communities with training on developing business plans. 12 inspirational teachers from 11 schools in Ngozi province were trained on research techniques, plan strategies and how to write and effective business plan .These teachers was then mandated to help students by sharing their knowledge on business plans to students. 8771 students from 11 schools were trained to a school business plan and implementation. These 11 schools participated to the international business competition for schools to set up their own school-based enterprise that will generate income which can be used to support the students and their community.
All photo credits-Rubin Nyandwi of ASODECOM
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